The X-Factor Australia returns tonight for its fourth season with hopeful singers from around the country hoping to be the next One Direction or Altiyan Childs. Just kidding. Probably not Altiyan Childs. The same panel of judges/mentors from last year’s season are back with Ronan Keating, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Mel B hot off the back from The Spice Girls triumphant Closing Ceremony performance, and evil Guy Sebastian (refer image above).
With a few major guest mentors on hand including Alicia Keys, Usher and the aforementioned crazy-popular (and pleasingly SEO-friendly) UK boy band One Direction, Channel Seven has clearly pumped serious resources into the series in the hopes of tackling the outrageous viewing numbers achieved by Channel Nine’s runaway success The Voice.
Will they???? We’ll soon find out. They’ve certainly got a nice balance of judges: insufferable nice one (Bassingthwingledingledoo), mouthy cleavage-exposing one (Mel B), urban-contemporary one with a real musical background and fondness for hat-wearing (Guy), and annoying lameo whose “Life Is A Rollercoaster” song makes me want to punch a mum (Keating). Let’s dive in…
7:33pm: That was quick. There was no introduction, just some footage of the judges sitting down. The first contestant is Isabella. She’s the one from the promo package wearing a blue dress with polka dots. She left school because it was a struggle for her. She says she has no backup plan. The X-Factor is the place to be!
7:36pm: Bella, as she prefers to be called, is singing “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver. Let’s hear something good.
7:36.5pm: I just got shivers. Great. I’m sucked in early!
7:38pm: Okay this girl has an incredibly pretty voice. Not like one of those ‘you like it or you don’t’ kind of voices, but genuinely lovely pipes. Ronan is standing on the judges table clapping. I can tell this is the kind of obnoxious ‘look at me!’ BS that will make me hate Ronan as the comp goes on.
7:40pm: Mel B says Bella is truly amazing. Ronan, the early tool, compares her to Reece Mastin (the guy with angular hair who won last year). Guy Sebastian says “don’t change a thing… It’s a yes from me.” The other judges follow suit. It’s a Yes across-the-board. I approve.
7:42pm: The host is Luke Jacobz who I first got to know as Zac Croft on Heartbreak High. Good times.
7:45pm: Just checked Twitter and ‘Bella’ is trending. Now there is an extensive introduction to the show. Bella has been given some early momentum from episode one. We’ve been introduced to a group of young dudes who “met on YouTube and just connected”. Christ. They’re performing next.
7:48pm: They are called What About Tonight. They’re wearing matching sweaters and singing a song I’m too old to have ever heard of. They’ll probably go platinum.
7:51pm: Ronan, who is thrilled by the performance, says “I’ve been in a boy band for 20 years” (which I thought was physically impossible) but is clearly an expert on the subject and loved it. All the judges love them though and they are going through to the next round. Cue a One Direction song while they bounce off the stage.
7:58pm: Having a wine. YOLO. Next up is Jason an 18 year old (“fuck he looks 39” – my boyfriend) who is from the country and is inspired by artists like John Denver, Celine Dion, and few people who are still relevant in pop culture. To be fair he’s from a town with a total population of 18. I appreciate his nice outfit choice with ironed black slacks and a white shirt. He has a popped collar but not in a douche way. In a practical ‘protecting my neck from the outback sun’ kind of way.
8:02pm: Jason’s voice is fine but definitely not great. His passion for the John Denver song he sings IS great though. Let’s see what the judges have to say.
8:03pm: Guy immediately focuses on Jason’s lack of style by talking about how it doesn’t matter if you look a certain way, it’s about the performance. Nice one jerk. Natalie invited Jason’s parents up on stage and they’re crying about how special he is. Jason’s dad: “You’ve heard of one in a million, this one’s one in two million!” Bless. People at home would be in tears right now. It’s a Yes from the judges.
8:11pm: Next is a guy who’s name is… I missed it. And then he said “I can’t even say my name right”. Touche. This guy seriously needs subtitles because I can understand about 1 in every 15 words.
8:13pm: His name is Adil. I only know because he spelled it for the judges. He’s been singing for about a year and is doing a John Mayer song. Nerves are palpable. In my apartment.
8:14pm: He enunciates far better when he sings. This kid has a nice voice. Natalie says “You are everything this competition is about” in a vague way. All the judges give him a yes and he’s going through to ‘boot camp’. Can we talk about Mel B‘s blonde weave for a moment? It’s scarily smooth. ‘Scary’ – how appropriate.
8:22pm: The next contestant is a plump youth with braces whose dream is to sing at “the Emmy’s with all those people looking up at me.” Her name is Shiane (pronounced Shy-Anne) and she’s from Darwin. She has only performed in local competitions. This could be disastrous…
8:23pm: Guy has given her a patronising pep talk about how thousands of people will be watching her, basically trying to psych her out. Shiane (ridiculous, non-existant name) sings “Mercy” by Duffy and sounds fucking AOK! She’s only 14 and looks as though she’s confused about what is coming out of her mouth, but that’s beside the point – girlfriend has a voice. Ronan was back up on the table.
8:26pm: Guy is speechless – because he just acted like a condescending dick. All the judges are creaming over little Shiane and her surprising voice. Natalie actually apologised for assuming Shiane would be shit. Ronan says “you are truly gifted Shiane”, and all the judges give her a yes.
8:35pm: Nathaniel is the next contestant. He’s singing “Gravity” by John Mayer. He’s a good looking dude with a voice like Jamie Lidell. He’ll set teenage pants aflame, but when he gets cut off Mel B says he is boring. Natalie says “I want to jump on that plane and shhhhccooo! [strange sound] I want to travel the world with you!” Ronan agrees he was boring.
8:39pm: Bassingthwaighte is jonesing and Guy liked the performance too, so now Nathaniel needs one more Yes. Ronan reluctantly gives in to the screams of the horny female audience and puts him through to boot camp.
8:45pm: Next up is Samantha, someone who has “been in the music industry for a while”. She has an expensive pop music video that never was released. This is her last chance and she thinks it could be the one. Guy knows her?! They are very good friends, apparently. This all seems above board…
8:48pm: “Sammy”, as Guy calls her, is singing that “I’m Falling To Pieces” drag, but she does sound good. She’s also wearing the vag-tight pants that Olivia Newton-John wears in the last scene of Grease.
8:49pm: Ronan says it’s a pleasure to watch her. Creep. Natalie talks about the constant rollercoaster of “the industry” and says Sammy just got back on the ride. Guy, who has an obvious conflict of interest here, loves her. It’s Yes from all the judges. Guy is now weeping about Sammy because he’s so happy for her. This is clearly suss.
8:57pm: Now they are showing some of the horrendous auditions. This is what I’ve been waiting for!! I like the people who are surrounded by enablers who encourage their awful shit!
9:00pm: Jasmine is a 16 year old from Brisbane who is singing Whitney Houston. No pressure. Her voice sounds like a toddler who can’t form proper words yet and is garbling a request for a rusk. JESUS. Her parents need to be arrested for neglect.
9:04pm: An ad for the remake of Total Recall was just on. God that movie looks like brain rape.
9:07pm: X-Factor is still on despite promising me in the TV Guide it would end at 9pm. The only thing keeping me going is Mel B’s hot-bitch fluoro outfits and “ker mahn lerv, givvus a herg” accent.
9:08pm: Some dude with headphones around his neck who was in the competition last year (which I did not watch) is now auditioning. Guy Sebastian says “you were one of my biggest regrets last year” which may or may not be a good thing.
9:11pm: This dude Josh is singing Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven”, dedicated to a baby his mum lost at birth 🙁
9:13pm: As soon as Josh starts singing it’s a No from me. This guy is so lame. Naturally, Bassingthwaighte is wiping tears away.
9:14pm: In the post-song questioning Josh is speaking with an American accent even though he isn’t American. Mel B is wearing day-glo yellow and looks miraculously like Solange Knowles – but Solange would NEVER put a dunce like Josh through to the next round, which Mel and the other judges do.
9:18pm: That’s it. Episode 1 over. If you’re keen for more live blogging of The X-Factor this season let us know in the comment section. Good night.